Anti-cigarette ads are tough to pull off well. After all, the primary target for the anti-smoking message is primarily a younger, teen consumer and, as we well know from our own experience, teens aren’t all that concerned about the future. They are invincible, you know. As a commenter on my earlier post about Saatchi & Saatchi’s excellent anti-smoking ad says, the strategy of showing the grim effects of smoking on a person are easily ignored by a target audience that just isn’t affected by that sort of message.
The Saatchis ad was still excellent as an ad. It was visually arresting, definitely stands out and it delivers the “same old” message far better than others before it. And others after it, like this ad from Soria&Grey at Ads of the World:
It’s scary all right. And sort of weird. But mostly scary.
The issue is that it and its messaging is nothing that hasn’t already been tried before. The Saatchis ad makes the same old messaging interesting, at least. This is just a re-tread and is hardly going to be effective based, as it is, on a flawed strategy and otherwise creatively uninteresting.
Smoking is appealing for teens primarily, I would guess, because it is cool in a Rebel Without A Cause sort of way.
A good strategy for anti-smoking ads would be to target the reason why kids do smoke and change their belief, resulting in a behavior change. Scaring them straight has been tried and, on the evidence in front of us, hasn’t worked.